Postcard from Austin: curb extensions that don’t block bikes

by on October 30th, 2015 at 8:52 am

curb extension bumps 1000
A quick, cheap crosswalk enhancement on 3rd Street in Austin, Tex.
(Photos: M.Andersen)

Austin, where I spent a few days this week, is not yet a great city to bike in. But some of the ideas it’s developed in its bid to become one are useful, and here’s one.


Oregon is 8th state to officially endorse progressive street design guide

by on October 14th, 2015 at 8:32 am

Screenshot 2015-10-13 at 10.26.39 PM
Key concepts in the NACTO guide.
(Photos: NACTO)

After a year and a half of lobbying, the Oregon Department of Transportation has formally recommended that its street designers look for ideas in one of the country’s most progressive bikeway design books.

The Urban Bikeway Design Guide by the National Association of City Transportation Officials was one of the country’s first official documents to include design elements like protected bike lanes, bike boulevards, floating bus stops and bike-specific traffic signals. Some of its concepts are already in Oregon’s in-house bikeway design guide, but NACTO has asked allied states and cities to endorse its guide in order to lend legitimacy to the designs in less progressive states.


Does Oregon really need the NACTO guide?

by on April 17th, 2014 at 9:08 am

The parking-protected bike lane near Portland
State University, from page 1-30 of ODOT’s
Bicycle and Pedestrian Design Guide.

On Monday, we highlighted a few bike ideas from around the country that Oregon might imitate, but so far hasn’t. One of them: formally endorsing the National Association of City Transportation Officials design guides.

But Jessica Horning, the transit and active transportation liaison for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Region 1 (which contains the Portland metro area) replied to our question about this with a fair argument: Oregon’s in-house design guide is already really good.

Developed by practitioners in Portland and other cities around the country, the NACTO guides are a sort of professional Pinterest for human-friendly street designs such as protected bike lanes and traffic diverters. Images are well-annotated and informed by extensive research about safety and performance.


Five new bike ideas from other places that Oregon could steal

by on April 14th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Share the Road - North Plains
Time for Oregon to stop “Share the Road”? (This sign is on NW West Union in North Plains, a small city in Washington County.)
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Over the last week or so, a bunch of great ideas from other cities have been washing up on our digital shorelines. Let’s take a look at a few.


Three local agencies just endorsed these visions for better streets (Images)

by on December 19th, 2013 at 9:42 am

The NACTO Urban Street Design Guide’s suggestion of a healthy downtown roadway.
(All images by NACTO)

When it comes down to curbs and crosswalks, a great street is as much a product of design as a great mobile app: the process of moving safely through a city needs to be as intuitive as sharing a photo with your phone. If it isn’t, people won’t.

That’s why it’s exciting that a new urban street design guide has been getting big attention.


Portland takes note as NACTO releases ‘Urban Street Design Guide’

by on September 24th, 2013 at 11:58 am

Screenshot from NACTO website.

The National Asssociation of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) released their Urban Street Design Guide yesterday. The new guide is being hailed by its creators as, “a blueprint for the 21st century streetscape” and it couldn’t come at a better time for Portland. (more…)

Headed to New York City for ‘Designing Cities’ conference

by on October 17th, 2012 at 10:47 am

Next Tuesday (10/23) I will head to New York City to attend the NACTO Designing Cities conference.

NACTO is the National Association for City Transportation Officials, a group that was formed as a counterbalance to AASHTO, the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials. In a nutshell, the folks behind NACTO (whose founders include several key PBOT engineers and other local experts) were sick and tired of being constrained by outdated guidebooks and AASHTO’s old-school (auto-centric) standards for transportation planning. They wanted a group that understand their urban issues and that could provide cities with the planning and engineering tools to design streets for the future — not have them shackled to priorities of the past.

City transportation officials unveil Urban Bikeway Design Guide

by on March 9th, 2011 at 5:30 am

Screenshot of NACTO’s new website.

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) — a coalition of 15 major U.S. cities — announced the official launch of their long-awaited Urban Bikeway Design Guide today. The guide is a product of NACTO’s ‘Cities for Cycling’ initiative that debuted back in December 2009.

In a press release, New York City Transportation Commissioner and NACTO President Janette Sadik-Khan encouraged transportation engineers in cities across America to adopt the standards, saying the new design guide, “gives planners and designers the tools they need to get to the next level.” “These guidelines represent the state of the art and should be adopted as the new standard around the country.” (more…)

Momentum grows for federal policy breakthrough that would fast-track bikeway innovations

by on August 10th, 2010 at 11:25 am

Rose Quarter opening celebration-15
Bike boxes, like this one in the Rose
Quarter, aren’t endorsed by the FHWA… yet.
(Photos © J. Maus)

According to Mike Wetter, the Senior Advisor to Metro Council President David Bragdon, the U.S. Department of Transportation is on the verge of a decision that could rapidly speed up the use of innovative bikeway treatments across America. Among supporters of a change to the policy is a national association of city transportation planners and U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer.

Currently, due to outdated federal standards, many bikeway designs that are common in Europe and Canada — like bike boxes, colored pavement markings, bike-only signals, and buffered bike lanes — are still considered “experimental” in the U.S.. This lack of official endorsement by the FHWA means city planners cannot use federal funds to install them and they encounter a host of significant barriers when trying to implement them. Wetter, along with transportation planners at PBOT and cities across the country, think current policies are unfair to urban jurisdictions and they might finally be close to changing them. (more…)

Cities for Cycling officially rolling with debut event, website

by on December 9th, 2009 at 10:00 am

The new logo

Cities for Cycling, a new initiative to push bike planning innovation in America with roots in Portland, was officially launched at an event in Washington D.C. last night.

Streetsblog was at the event and reported this from New York City DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan:

“Some of the most celebrated and popular [bike] improvements are not even in the national guidelines,” Sadik-Khan explained, adding that C4C ultimately aims to help develop “a new MUTCD, designed for cities, not highways.”